Frequently asked questions about AFOs
People often have a lot of questions about wearing AFO’s or splints.
What should I wear under my splint?
We recommend wearing a long sock under the AFO. This will provide a barrier between you and the splint and help wick moisture away from your leg.
Some people find that flight socks or mild compressive running socks can work well as they help minimise any swelling during the day that can make the splint tight.
What strap should I do first?
It will depend on exactly what set up of strapping the splint has but generally the strap at the ankle should be done first. This will ensure that the heel is kept down in the AFO.
How tight should the straps be?
The straps should be snug. They should not be so tight that the blood stops getting to your toes but tight enough that movement within the device is minimised.
Will wearing the AFO hurt?
Wearing a splint should not hurt but to begin with they may be a little uncomfortable, a bit like new shoes.
If your AFO is hurting it is a sign that it is potentially not fitting correctly or is no longer suitable.
What sort of footwear is best to use with my splint?
This is a tricky question to answer as often it will depend on your clinical requirements. We can provide a few general pointers however
- The footwear should not be completely flat. Most AFOs are designed to be worn with footwear with a slight heel to ensure correct alignment.
- Generally the lower they open the better as this will make it easier to get on.
- Fastening such as laces or Velcro are also preferred.
Do I need to go up a shoe size to wear my splint?
This will depend on how the splint is designed, it is not uncommon for people who wear a plastic AFO to have to go up a shoe size to accommodate the splint.
Some lower profile carbon (and plastic) devices can be worn in the same shoe size but that will often depend on the style of the footwear.
How long during the day should I wear my splint?
That will depend on why you need to wear the AFO. Some people will only wear them when leaving the house or when going for long walks. Others will wear them from first thing in the morning to last thing at night.
Do I put the splint on my leg or in the shoe first?
It will depend on how the AFO has been designed. Some AFOs will have to be placed onto the leg first in order for them to function correctly.
Others can be placed in the shoe first then you can use it almost like a large shoe horn to get the footwear on.
Generally we are happy for you to use either method for putting the splint on as long as it is fitted correctly and it is functioning as expected.
Do I wear my splint in bed?
This will depend on the type of AFO that you have. Often people will wear special splints in bed for example to provide a long stretch over night. These are a special type of device that is designed to be worn in bed. Generally this type of splint wont fit in a shoe and you will have been advised to wear it overnight.
AFO's for use during the day should not be worn overnight unless specifically advised to by your clinician.